An SMPA Book Talk with Dorothy Butler Gilliam: Trailblazer

Dorothy Butler Gilliam sits at a desk with a typewriter in black and white photo of a newsroom


Dorothy Gilliam returns to GW to discuss her experience as the first African-American female journalist at The Washington Post and her efforts to increase diversity in the media.

Gilliam is a former SMPA Shapiro Fellow and director of the Prime Movers Media program which was housed at SMPA and sent veteran journalists and GW students to mentor high school students and to assist teachers with media programs in television, radio and written reporting.

In "Trailblazer: A Pioneering Journalist’s Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America," Gilliam opens up about a 50-year-career in journalism that put her in the forefront of the fight for social justice. The book offers a comprehensive view of racial relations and the media with a revolutionary journey that weaves the story of her personal experiences as a black, female journalist into the media’s historic role within the civil rights movement.

This account of media history and the fight for equality reflects one woman’s decades of struggle that opened the door for journalists that followed. Gilliam’s memoir highlights the lack of visibility of people of color that still plagues today’s media landscape.

The conversation will be moderated by SMPA Director Frank Sesno.

This event is co-sponsored with the George Washington University Association of Black Journalists and GW Libraries & Academic Innovation.

Books will be available for purchase with a book signing following the discussion.

All are welcome, but registration is required due to limited space.